, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 53-74

Intentions, All-Out Evaluations and Weakness of the Will

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Abstract

The problem of weakness of the will is often thought to arise because ofan assumption that freely, deliberately and intentionally doing something must correspondto the agent's positive evaluation of doing that thing. In contemporary philosophy, a verycommon response to the problem of weakness has been to adopt the view that free, deliberateaction does not need to correspond to any positive evaluation at all. Much of thesupport for this view has come from the difficulties the denial of it has been thought togive rise to, both with respect to giving an account of weakness, as well as explaining thefuture-directed nature of intentions. In this paper I argue that most of these difficulties onlyarise for one particular version of the view that free, deliberate action must correspond toa positive evaluation, a version associated with Donald Davidson's account of weakness.However, another version of this view is possible, and I argue that it escapes the standardobjections to the Davidsonian account.